Source: Unsplash

“It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.”

~Oscar Wilde

Everyone seems to want social media followers. They want to feel special and have an online presence. They want a “brand”. What are my thoughts on the topic? The key to it isn’t what you think. In fact, it isn’t what you think at all.Stop thinking so much. Guess what happens when we think? We analyze. Then we over-analyze. Then nothing gets done. But the fact is feelings motivate us to take action. Someone is much more likely to do something based on feeling than they are thinking about it. People don’t always realize this but the best Social Media posts, youtube videos, various viral sensations, overnight celebrities, and Medium articles we follow, read, and adore are actually built around FEELING. That’s right. They make the spectator feel a certain way about a certain person, value, or belief. The fact is, when we feel something, we are more likely to respond be it positively or negatively. Negative can be ok. This dates back to our primitive roots. Never overthink.

When a person finds their match are they more likely to go with that person because they think that person is right for them? Or because they feel something deeply for that person? Well, probably both. But when the chips are down, they’re going to say they chose and / or stayed with that person because they felt something. Let’s look at acting in film, television, and theater and also marketing for a minute.

Why do you think people respond to great performances on stage or in the movies?

Because they connect to the actress or actor’s performance. The performer was connected to their own core, the character’s core, and therefore was making the audience member FEEL a certain way. The humanity.

Why do people respond to to brands such as Apple, Google, Tesla, or Amazon?

Because the experience makes them FEEL a certain way. The humanity.

Whenever anyone asks me about something I post or something they should post I tell them if they felt it, post it. The moment you start overthinking is the moment you self-sabotage. The thing is, if you post based on feeling, not everyone is going to agree. But if you post based on thinking, not everyone is going to agree either. So why waste time thinking? Post! It’s a matter of posting it NOW and maybe getting it right based on instinct and feeling or posting later based on over thinking, and guess what? You still only MIGHT have gotten it right. And want to know the real secret? What if your post is “wrong”? Will you be ridiculed, made fun of, lauded and sent to another galaxy because of your unimaginable ridiculous social media post? Unlikely. And honestly? It’s ok and sometimes even kind of fun to be wrong. Being wrong and criticism makes you a more dynamic, stronger, complex, and also fascinating human being. Whoever said that art is perfection? Art is messy. It’s paint on canvas mixed and matched and criticized and yet often beautiful. Why not make your social media be that way? Cue the “We want Twitter followers choir”. One could make the argument that social media is an act of self-expression. It can actually be classified as a form of art.

Want to know the real key to followers? It’s not making all your posts perfectly neat, clean, and utterly perfect. It’s being messy, getting things wrong, and living through all of that. Staying close to our inner core values and belief system. Why? Because you are human. And last I checked humans connect to humans. And what makes them connect? How they feel. We connect to each other through our flaws not through perfectly clean, robotic social media posts. Post lots. Post messy. Be wrong. Live through it. And guess what? The followers will show up at your door.

This brings me to my big secret to social media:

The Forrest Gump Formula

Forrest Gump: I just felt like running.

Jogger: It’s you. I can’t believe it’s really you.

Forrest Gump: Now, for some reason what I was doing seemed to make sense to people.

Jogger: I mean It was like an alarm went off in my head ya know? I said here’s a guy that’s got his act together. Here’s somebody who’s got it all figured out. Here’s somebody who has the answers. I’ll follow you anywhere Mr. Gump.

Forrest Gump: So I got company. And after that i got more company. And then, even more people joined in. Somebody later told me it gave people hope. Naw, Naw I don’t know anything about that. But some of those people asked if I could help them out…”

Sound familiar? Since when did Forrest Gump know about social media?

Answer: He didn’t. He’s talking about running. Or is he? Is there a deep thread here connected not only to our short attention-span world of 2017 but to our primitive roots?

So…What brings followers? YOUR HUMANITY. If you feel it, post it, and don’t look back. Want to know a great illustration of this? Our old friend Forrest Gump. That’s right. Run, Forrest, Run. Last I checked when Forrest started running he got quite the following. Why? “I just felt like running.”

Keyword: FELT He went on feeling. That’s why they and we (the audience) loved him.

That moment Forrest decided to start running was such a human / life moment. One of the best moment’s in film history in my opinion. And it’s so relevant to the past, present, and future.

So what’s the key to social media?

Be Forrest Gump.

Stop listening to the people telling you to post this post at 4:37pm and 42 seconds. Or to post on brand or post this and that. Nevermind the posting schedule, the weather, or what flavor of ice cream you ate for breakfast. Your brand cannot be planned by anyone but you. It’s inside of you. Just post. And Live. And Love. And be you. And damnit, be like Forrest. The rest will take care of itself. You’ll get your box of chocolates. Just keep running.

Forrest Gump is the real secret to social media. I promise.

Would all the people running after him follow him on Twitter?


Start running. Don’t wait.

By Geoff Pilkington

You can connect with me on my website.